So, you’ve been selected for an interview for your dream job and you’re wondering how to best prepare for a successful conversation? Read on for some ‘best practice’ tips on preparing for your interview.
Review your resume
Begin by reviewing your resume completely before the interview and be prepared to speak in depth and accurately about your career, education and personal interests. Make sure that you can talk about your experience and skills and show how these are relevant to the job that you have applied for and how they will benefit your prospective employer.
Research the company
Read about the company’s history, its main competitors, its role in the community (whether local or national) and its organizational goals and values. Review the company’s social media pages such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Polish your online and social media presence
Your interview starts as soon as an employer receives your resume. They often will review your Linked In, Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts. Ensure that you have presented yourself in the best light possible. Keep pictures modest and professional, don’t post comments or images with captions that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to read and keep your profile current on Linked In.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
It may seem like common sense, but you need to ensure that you know the:
- Time of the interview;
- Location of the interview and how to get there. If possible, visit the location prior to the interview;
- Name and title of the person you are meeting; and
- Contact telephone number.
Make sure that your phone is fully charged and leave more than enough time to reach your destination. Before you enter the venue, turn off your phone or switch it to silent.
Make a good first impression
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make the most of it. Here’s a few tips on how to accomplish this:
- Use positive and open body language in the reception area and during the interview. Look confident and enthusiastic.
- Dress professionally and appropriately for the position you’ve applied to. Do an online search about what is appropriate dress for ‘business casual’ or ‘professional attire’. If you aren’t sure what the employer’s dress code is, choose professional attire. You can always adjust once you’re familiar with the workplace culture.
- Don’t check your phone while you are waiting to be called into the interview. Review your resume or the waiting room magazines instead.
- Be friendly to everyone who greets/meets you. You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression with your potential new coworkers.
Know your strengths
Interviewers want to find out about certain behaviours, such as your ability to work with others or to solve problems. Assessing what you most enjoy will help you to clarify what you want out of your career. You can identify your strengths by asking yourself:
- What do you learn quickly?
- When did you achieve something that you were really proud of? What made it significant and what did you learn from the experience?
- What tasks come naturally to you?
Prepare to ask questions
You will always be asked if you have any questions at the end of an interview. This is a perfect opportunity for you to impress your interviewer and to find out more about the company. Some good topics to explore include the company’s vision and values, the training and development opportunities that exist, and the interviewer’s background and history with the company.
Avoid common pitfalls
If you are not familiar with interview protocol and etiquette, you could let yourself down. Here are some basic mistakes to avoid:
- Poor visual communication.Stand/sit up straight, make good eye contact and listen to what is being said. Never slouch and make sure that your handshake is firm and confident.
- Poor verbal communication.Answer questions in a clear and direct manner. Take your time to make sure that you are answering the right question. If you are at all unsure, it is best to ask for clarification before trying to second-guess what is being asked.